Values and Beliefs

My first, official, field work experience, was pretty awkward to say the least. I am posting this late because I was not able to speak with my informants until today. When explaining this project to the informants, they had a lot of questions, to many to list. I could sense that a lot of the informants had this idea that there was a right answer and a wrong answer to the questions I was asking. They seemed to want to give me the right answer, even though they were opinion/personal view questions and this made the interviews seem a little forced. When it came to taking notes on the conversation, I didn’t want to distract by taking a break from flowing conversation to write down some notes. Therefor, I asked permission to record the conversations and most of them agreed. I labeled my recordings with the aliases of the informants, which to amuse myself are all herbs, such as Rosemary and Chive, to avoid identifying them.

This week, I approached each informant with the question, “Why do you garden?” Some of the most common answers I got were “for fulfillment” and “to enjoy the fruits of my own labor”. This question was followed up with varying questions to clarify. Then, I concluded the conversations with the question, “Why do you think other people garden?” To this question, there were similar answers to the first questions respective to each person. For example, those who said that they garden for fulfillment, also said that they think others garden for fulfillment.

These two main questions were open ended, in an attempt to unveil the values and beliefs of the garden culture. Some common values revealed were hard work, independence, a green state of mind, and innovation. The most common belief was that to know what true satisfaction, you have to know the struggles of creating life, nurturing it, and “enjoying the fruits of your labor.”

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